The US and the Philippines

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What was William Jennings Bryan's general position on annexing the Philippines?

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Bryan was strongly against the annexation of the Philippines. Bryan did not want to go to war with Spain in 1898 and the question of Philippine annexation only made him appear correct when he stated that this was a war of imperialism that a democratic nation should not fight. Bryan...

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Bryan was strongly against the annexation of the Philippines. Bryan did not want to go to war with Spain in 1898 and the question of Philippine annexation only made him appear correct when he stated that this was a war of imperialism that a democratic nation should not fight. Bryan was the leader of a group of Progressives who believed that expansionist efforts would weaken domestic agendas at home. He also did not want to deny the Filipinos their home rule. This was a fair argument in that many Filipinos sided with the United States in the war to remove Spain. Bryan took the side of Emilio Aguinaldo who fought against the American army when it was decided that the United States would rule the islands.

Bryan was not alone in arguing against annexation; his argument was rather enlightened for its time period in that he was against the United States having an empire because it would violate democratic principles held since America was itself a former colony.

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American politician William Jennings Bryan opposed the annexation of the Philippines. His views on this matter are best expressed in his speech "Imperialism," which he delivered on August 8, 1900. Bryan--who was running for president on the Democratic ticket--believed the Republican party had become imperialistic. In other words, he believed the Republicans wanted to turn America into an empire. One example of this imperialism was the Republicans' attitude toward the Philippines. The Republicans wanted to annex the Philippines; Bryan believed this was unwise. As he said in paragraph 27 of "Imperialism:"

Those who would have this nation enter upon a career of empire must consider not only the effect of imperialism on the Filipinos, but they must also calculate its effects upon our own nation.  We cannot repudiate the principle of self-government in the Philippines without weakening that principle here.

Proponents of annexing the Philippines argued it would benefit them by bringing them democracy, but Bryan believed that forcing democracy on another nation would result in the weakening of democracy in the United States.

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